Saturday 20 December 2014

Has the LinkedIn Profile Made the CV Obsolete when recruiting sales staff?

Who would have imagined, just over one decade ago, that the social networking start-up website, founded by Stanford graduate Reid Hoffman, would today be the happy hunting ground of both those seeking employment and those seeking new employees?

Whether or not that was Hoffman’s intention right from the start isn't very clear, I personally think his vision was somewhat wider than that, but nonetheless that is what it has become. LinkedIn is a massive meeting place for those wishing to find a job, change their current job or to find people to fulfill a job vacancy.

For many employers, LinkedIn is now the first point of reference when recruiting sales staff.

I recently attended a business networking event in central London. It was attended by, predominantly, self-employed professionals who were looking to extend their network of contacts and, ideally, to pick up some business for themselves.

Some of them were also seeking employment and using the event as a showcase for their talents – nothing at all wrong with that. There were also, of course, some members of the recruitment profession who were seeking to recruit sales staff and to fill other posts.

Back home and onto LinkedIn to find out more

So after a few hours of elevator pitches and passing around the business cards I returned home and made a bee-line, as I always do, for my laptop – just to “check my emails”, of course.

In fact, before checking my emails I went straight to my LinkedIn account to check the profiles of those people I had been speaking with and who were of interest to me, only to find that many of them had already beaten me to it and checked my LinkedIn profile.

One or two of those who had checked me out were of particular interest to me so I decided to take an impartial look at what they would have seen. It was a bit of a shock to have to say that I really wasn’t that impressed with my public profile on LinkedIn.

See yourself as others see you

The reason for this is not that my profile was bad, but it certainly wasn’t fully up to date, and some of the things I had been freely telling people about at the networking event were not yet entered up onto my LinkedIn profile.
Anyone who has ever been involved in recruitment, and particular interviewing applicants for a job, will know this situation – it’s like the unexplained gap in the chronology of the applicant’s CV. The missing months, or sometimes years, where they simply disappeared off the radar.

Your LinkedIn profile – a valuable asset so keep it up-to-date.

Usually, there’s a reasonable explanation for this; a year spent travelling, a simple mistake in calculating dates or some such harmless reason. Unfortunately, however, when confronted with such a situation, many people fear the worst and draw the wrong conclusion.

In the same way that you should always keep your CV up-to-date with no unexplained gaps, so too should your LinkedIn profile be kept current, interesting and historically accurate.

To answer my own question, no – the LinkedIn profile has not yet made the CV obsolete – when you are recruiting sales staff or other employees you should always ask for the applicants CV and, equally, applicants should always be ready to supply one.

What is important, however, is that one does not contradict the other so it’s time to be doubly sure that your profile and your CV are in sync.

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